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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

1. OCCASION OF THE PROPHECY.—Nabuchodonosor in the second year of his reign (B.C. 603–602) had a dream which the wise men of the Chaldeans were unable to recall—for the king had forgotten the dream—and interpret. God revealed both dream and interpretation to Daniel, who went to the king after the latter had issued the order to put all the wise men to death, because they could not satisfy his demands. The king in gratitude exalted Daniel above all the wise men of Babylon, and gave him a permanent home at the court, while his three companions were appointed administrators of the province of Babylon.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—The Messianic character of the prophecy depends on the interpretation given of the “stone” cut out of the mountain without hands. Explanations: a. St. Jerome relates that the Jews and Porphyry understood by the stone the people of Israel, which would, according to these authorities, at the end of time overcome all kings and princes of the earth, and rule supreme among all men. But the words of the prophecy demand that the fifth kingdom shall rise after the other four have existed for some time while the nation of the Jews began before any of the four kingdoms came into existence. A number of other reasons against this view will be seen in the proofs for the Messianic reference of the prophetic stone.

b. Houbigant, Grotius, Cosmas Indicopleustes, and a few others explain the stone as referring to the Roman empire. The stone was cut out of the mountain, because the Roman power began on the Palatine hill; it has become a great mountain, filling the earth, because the Roman rule has extended over the whole world; Grotius ascribes an eternity of rule to the Roman empire by reason of the Church, which has its capital in the capital of the empire. α. But all these interpreters feel obliged to pass in silence over the circumstance that the stone was “cut without hands.” β. Besides, as we shall see in the commentary, the four kingdoms preceding that introduced by the stone cannot be explained as preceding the Roman empire, which agrees in its historical outlines with all the details of the prophet’s fourth kingdom.

c. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands is Jesus Christ. Reasons: 1. Jesus Christ is represented by a stone in other passages of the Old Testament (Is. 28:16; Ps. 118:22); 2. Jesus himself applied the figure of the stone to his own person (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Rom. 9:32; 1 Pet. 2:4 f.); 3. the stone represents Christ’s humility and self-annihilation; he was cut out of the mountain of the seed of Abraham, or of the people of Israel, which was often represented by Mount Sion; the stone has become a great mountain by reason of Christ’s universal kingdom on the earth; 4. the Fathers, too, commonly explain the stone as referring to the person of the Messias, to Jesus Christ; the references to their testimonies may be seen in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica (2d ed., i. p. 459); 5. finally, we may add one or another testimony showing that the Synagogue understood the stone as referring to the Messias. The Pirqé de R. Eliezer, c. 11, applies to the Messias verse 35, in which occur the words: “but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” In c. 30 of the same writing, verse 44 is applied to the Messias, in which again there is question of the fifth kingdom that shall have its origin in the stone cut out of the mountain “without hands.” We need not add that verse 22, in which we have the preliminary prayer of Daniel, is applied to the Messias in the Midrash on Genesis (1:1, sect. 1); Abba Serungia gives as the reason for the Messianic reference of the words, “and light is with him” (Dan. 2:22), the words of Is. 60:1: “Arise, shine, for thy light is come.” And in the Midrash on Lamentations (1:16) Rabbi Bibi Sanguria said: “Light is his [the Messias’] name; for it is said: The light dwelleth with him” (Dan. 2:22).

d. Knabenbauer (Dan., p. 97) prefers another explanation of the stone, which appears to be more in conformity with the context of the passage, without destroying the Messianic character of the prophecy. Since the symbols in the preceding verses signify kingdoms, not kings, the stone should be referred to the Messianic kingdom rather than to the person of Jesus Christ. This view allows us more consistency in the explanation of the prophecy itself. For α. it must be kept in mind that though Jerome, Maldonatus, Sanchez, Clarius, Estius, Menochius, Tirinus, Calmet, Reinke, Trochon, and others refer the stone to Christ, they nearly all refer the mountain, into which the stone grows, to the kingdom of Christ. β. Pererius, a Lapide, and Gordon follow the opposite course; they interpret the stone as signifying the kingdom of Christ, but then they pass over to the person of Christ. γ. Loch refers the stone to both, the person of Christ and his kingdom.

This modified view of the Messianic reference of the prophecy does not imply any substantial change in its meaning. For, after all, Christ is the head and, therefore, the principal part of his kingdom; it is, therefore, not strange that we find commentators passing from a prophetic prediction of the kingdom of Christ to a prediction of the person of the Messias.

DAN. 11:27–45

And Daniel made answer before the king and said: The secret that the king desireth to know, none of the wise men, or the philosophers, or the diviners, or the soothsayers can declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth mysteries, who hath showed to thee, O King Nabuchodonosor, what is to come to pass in the latter times. Thy dream and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these: Thou, O king, didst begin to think in thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and he that revealeth mysteries showed thee what shall come to pass. To me also this secret is revealed, not by any wisdom that I have more than all men alive; but that the interpretation might be made manifest to the king, and thou mightest know the thoughts of thy mind. Thou, O king, sawest, and behold, there was as it were a great statue; this statue, which was great and tall of stature, stood before thee, and the look thereof was terrible. The head of this statue was of fine gold, but the breast and the arms of silver, and the belly and the thighs of brass, and the legs of iron, the feet part of iron and part of clay. Thus thou sawest, till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands; and it struck the statue upon the feet thereof that were of iron and of clay, and broke them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of a summer’s threshing floor, and they were carried away by the wind, and there was no place found for them; but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

This is the dream; we will also tell the interpretation thereof before thee, O king. Thou art a king of kings, and the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, and strength, and power, and glory, and all places wherein the children of men and the beasts of the field do dwell; he hath also given the birds of the air into thy hand, and hath put all things under thy power; thou therefore art the head of gold. And after thee shall rise up another kingdom, inferior to thee, of silver; and another third kingdom, of brass, which shall rule over all the world. And the fourth kingdom shall be of iron; as iron breaketh into pieces, and subdueth all things, so shall that break and destroy all these. And whereas thou sawest the feet, and the toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron; the kingdom shall be divided, but yet it shall take its origin from the iron, according as thou sawest the iron mixed with the miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall be mingled indeed together with the seed of man, but they shall not stick fast one to another, as iron cannot be mixed with clay. But in the days of those kingdoms the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, and it shall break in pieces and shall consume all these kingdoms; and itself shall stand for ever. According as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, and broke in pieces the clay, and the iron, and the brass, and the silver, and the gold, the great God hath showed the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream is true, and the interpretation thereof is faithful. Then King Nabuchodonosor fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer in sacrifice to him, victims and incense. And the king spoke to Daniel and said: Of a truth, your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of hidden things, seeing thou couldst discover this secret.

1. The Messianic kingdom will, therefore, have its source and origin in an immediate interference of God in the order of things.

2. The kingdom will have an everlasting duration.

3. This kingdom will be the exclusive property of the saints of God, and will not be given into the hands of any one else.

4. The Messianic kingdom will destroy all kingdoms of the world: not as if no monarchy were compatible with the kingdom of Christ; but no kingdom which follows the worldly principles of the world as such, which is on principle opposed to the interests of God, shall be able to subsist with the kingdom of Christ.

5. The Messianic kingdom shall comprise the whole world, it shall be the stone that grows into the mountain, filling the whole earth.

6. The Messianic kingdom will begin at the time of the fourth worldly kingdom, and will reach its ultimate perfection at the second coming of Christ, when all Christ’s enemies shall be finally put to shame. While the prophet Daniel, in his second chapter, insists more on the beginning of the kingdom with Christ’s first advent, he is, in the seventh chapter, more explicit about the final completion of God’s kingdom at the time of Christ’s second coming. In the second chapter he promises a kingdom that will fill the whole earth; in the seventh chapter he treats of a kingdom that shall be given to the saints (cf. Düsterwald, Weltreiche und Gottesreich, p. 131).








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